New York Mets: Five best relievers to add to the bullpen this winter
The timing of the ownership transition seemed to cost the Mets an opportunity at Hand early on, but could they have a second chance to snag the closer?
If the New York Mets were going to tell Santa Clause what kind of relief pitcher they were looking to sign this winter, it would sound something like this: left-handed, versatile, and able to replace Edwin Diaz should he regress again in 2021.
Santa would then reach into his big bag of gifts and pull out: Brad Hand.
Sandy Alderson made it clear that the timing of the transition of power from the Wilpons to Steve Cohen proved to be a detriment as they would’ve likely claimed the leftie closer when he was passing through waivers. It should be noted that in a regular season, there’s probably little to no chance that Hand even sees the waiver wire to begin with, but nevertheless, here we are.
With three consecutive all-star appearance from 2017-2019, Hand registered two straight seasons of 30+ saves with both the San Diego Padres (yes, seriously, San Diego, again) and Cleveland Indians. In 2016, right before he started closing games for the Padres, Hand appeared in a career high 82 games and compiled a K/9 ratio of 11.2. Hand since then has never registered a K/9 rate below 11.
The exceptional strikeout rate to accompany the ability to close games in big situations makes Hand an ideal candidate for the Mets this offseason. Desperate for a left-handed arm in their ‘pen, adding Hand this winter would provide the same level of dominance, if not more, that would come from adding Hendriks. You could argue that the high strikeout rate and sustained levels make him an even better option than Hendriks, regardless of him being left-handed.
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If New York is going to spend big on a reliever, their money would be best used to ensure that Hand is in a (potentially black) Mets jersey come 2021. Only 30-years old, there’s still plenty left in the tank for the Minnesota native. With the type of depth and versatility the Mets are trying to create for their franchise, signing Hand would give the Mets another premier option to close out games.